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Michał Bałucki

Illustration from the digital collections of the National Library’s Polona website

Michał Bałucki

The Types and Pictures of Kraków

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Read by Marta Meissner, recorded by Radiofonia Association
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English translation: Dorota Majda
Kraków, in a way, is a city made for the retired; it was even more so a dozen years ago when one could live here not only quietly, comfortably, and enjoyably but also inexpensively.
There is no hustle and bustle in the streets which is so typical of big cities - no one is hurrying here, no one is rushing; there is so much time to spend that a random canary on a roof makes a lot of people stop for hours on end. In such a city, the old man can safely walk the streets without the fear of being run down. Should he be devout, he has the choice of forty churches. If he happens to like the theatre - there is a theatre, and a pretty good one at that. A company to play Preferance or domino he will find in a club or café, whereas politics he can thoroughly discuss in a wine bar. Each of these places is so close by that even those with rheumatic legs can reach them.

English translation: Dorota Majda
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Michał Bałucki

(1837-1901) – a writer and journalist, born in Krakow. Known primarily as the author of comedies mocking the contemporary bourgeois Grube ryby (Big shot, 1881). Also wrote plenty of tendentious novels, which promoted the ideas of modernisation and positivism. As a columnist for Tygodnik Krakowski weekly, Bałucki condemned conservatism and clericalism. Towards the end of his life, he entered a conflict with the literary circles of Young Poland, and especially with Lucjan Rydel. The conflict became one of the reasons (besides neurosis and literary failures) of the writer’s suicide. Bałucki took his life by shooting a gun at his head by the gate of Jordana Park. His burial in the Rakowicki Cemetery caused plenty of controversies; many opposed it, including Cardinal Jan Puzyna. The people of Krakow decided to commemorate the writer with a monument, which was originally to be put up in the square in front of theatre, yet due to opposition from the conservatives, it was finally erected behind the theatre. (ms)
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